Magazine 15 June 2021

Sports and Pelvic Floor Exercises: How Can They Help Against Cystitis?

It is well known that physical activity in general is good for our health and improves our immune system.

but is playing sports good for cystitis sufferers?

The answer is: it depends!

From what?

Previously, we saw two conditions that predispose to the onset of cystitis:

  • A weak pelvic floor can lead to bladder prolapse. This can prevent us from totally expelling urine which, by stagnating, allows bacteria to proliferate.
  • A contracture of the pelvic floor leads to stiffness that results in painful intercourse, exposing us to the risk of post-coital cystitis. In addition, it does not allow us to totally expel the stool which, by stagnating, allows bacteria to proliferate.

Depending on the state of our pelvic muscles, we will need to strengthen or relax the muscles.

Watch out!

A certain type of physical activity, depending on our condition, can either have beneficial effects or aggravate the situation.

If you don’t know what state your pelvic muscles are in, our advice is to first see your gynecologist who, with a urogynecological examination, will be able to establish the condition of your pelvic floor.

Weak Pelvic Floor: Strengthening Exercises

If our pelvic muscles are weak, we need to focus on strengthening them and increasing muscle tone. Our advice is to practice gentle gymnastics and kegel exercises.

  1. Soft Gymnastics

In case of a weak pelvic floor, gentle gymnastic exercises (such as Yoga and Pilates) allow us to:

  • strengthen the muscle tone of the pelvic floor (in particular the anus elevator muscle), counteracting any bladder prolapse and restoring bladder function.
  • increase blood circulation in the pelvis, improving the tone of urinary and genital tissue.
  • improve our immune system, relax and fight stress.
  1. Traditional Kegel Exercises

Kegel exercises are named after their creator, gynecologist Arnold Kegel.

They consist of contracting and relaxing the pelvic floor muscles in a precise way and sequence.

How do you control muscles that, until recently, you didn’t know existed?

It’s actually very easy.

To locate these muscles all you must do is stop the stream of urine while you pee.

Once identified, you can do them under any circumstances and at any time of the day.

How? I’ll explain it to you right now:

  1. Empty the bladder completely.
  2. Tighten your pelvic floor muscles and keep them contracted for 5 seconds.
  3. Completely relax your muscles for 10 seconds.
  4. Do three sets a day (morning, afternoon, and evening) of three repetitions each.
  5. Slowly you can increase the number of repetitions from 3 to 10, keeping the same number of sets.

Most people notice an improvement after 4-6 weeks.

Now all you have to do is start practicing. 😊

Pelvic Floor Contracture: Relaxing Exercises

If your pelvic floor muscles are contracted, we need to focus on relaxing and stretching our pelvic muscles. Our advice is to practice Reverse Kegelexercises.

  1. Reverse Kegel Exercises

Reverse Kegel exercises aim to relax the pelvic muscles.

If you don’t know how to control these muscles, just stop the stream of urine while you pee (by contracting your pelvic muscles)

Contrary to basic Kegel, in the exercises we are not going to further contract the pelvic floor, but to relax it.

Here’s how:

  1. Empty the bladder completely.
  2. Tighten your pelvic floor muscles and keep them contracted for 2 seconds.
  3. Completely relax your muscles for 20 seconds.
  4. Do three sets a day (morning, afternoon, and evening) of three repetitions each.
  5. Slowly you can increase the number of repetitions from 3 to 10, keeping the same number of sets.

Let me know how your exercises are going, and if you’d like, check out my in-depth article “Pelvic Floor: What It Is and How It Affects a Woman’s Life“.

 

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